The unemployment rate in Tuolumne County rose slightly in December, putting an end to a nearly two-year decline in jobless claims.
Unemployment stood at 12.8 percent in December, up from 12.4 percent in November, according to Employment Development Department figures released Friday.
Prior to last month's rise, the unemployment rate fell consistently since February 2010, when unemployment was well above 14 percent, according to EDD analyst Pedro Vargas. He said the slight increase in joblessness shouldn't be cause for alarm because the overall number of people out of work is down compared to December 2010, when unemployment stood at 13.9 percent.
"It's not that big of a change and it's pretty typical to see a change like this," he said.
Most of the job losses were in government, with a total of 120 jobs
lost in December. Another 50 jobs were lost in construction, 30 in
manufacturing and 30 in leisure and hospitality. Vargas said the lack
of snow in November and December likely forced some ski resorts to cut
seasonal jobs at a time when they would normally be hiring.
The available labor force also fell in December to a total of 25,030 in Tuolumne County.
The number of people looking for work in Tuolumne County had been
falling consistently for much of the year, but in December rose
slightly to a total of 3,210 compared to 3,120 in November. The
available labor force continued to fall last month and was at 25,030
compared to the same period last year when it was at 25,280.
"There are less folks in the labor force and that makes a big difference for the unemployment rate," Vargas said.
In Calaveras County, the unemployment rate remained flat in
December at 14.1 percent, according to EDD statistics. The number of
jobless claims have fallen significantly when compared to December
2010, when unemployment stood at 16 percent.
Employment in local government was up in Calaveras County, likely
driven by increased hiring in educational services, Vargas said.
The total labor force rose slightly in December, with 19,210
available workers compared to 19,090 in November. The number of people
still looking for work was up last month as well, with 2,710 compared
to 2,690, according to EDD. Overall, however, the labor force and
number of unemployed have fallen compared to the same period in 2010
when the statistics were 19,810 and 3,170 respectively.
The outlook was better in the state as a whole where unemployment
fell to 11.1 percent in December, from 11.3 percent, according to EDD.
Employers also added 10,700 workers in December.
California added 240,300 jobs in 2011 across several sectors of the
economy. Vargas said that much of the growth has yet to trickle up to
the Mother Lode yet and job creation has been more robust in Los
Angeles and the Bay Area.
"To me that's positive. If it's happening in those areas,
eventually the rural areas pick up in later months," he said. "The good
news is that manufacturing and construction are moving up to the
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